MONMOUTH MP PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR “NO” CAMPAIGN ON WALES TAX POWERS

MONMOUTH MP David Davies has pledged support for a “No” campaign in a referendum on handing tax-raising powers to the Welsh Government.

Mr Davies said in Parliament that he would oppose “further attacks on Wales.”

He made his comments during a Queen’s Speech debate on devolution in the House of Commons.

“I have felt some connection with members of the Scottish National Party because I too have been on the losing side of a referendum on the future of our nation on no fewer than two occasions,” he told MPs.

“In my case it was opposing the Welsh Assembly and then opposing further powers for the Welsh Assembly.

“I suspect that at some point in the near future, I may well be opposing further attacks on Wales which is quite a catchy phrase for a campaign that I would be happy to front up if there is a referendum on tax-raising powers for the Welsh Assembly.”

The Wales Act 2014, which received Royal Assent in December, means a referendum could be held to give Welsh ministers the power to vary income tax.

Despite being on the losing side of the 1997 devolution referendum, Mr Davies went on to become the only Conservative elected to a constituency in the first assembly elections two years later.

He said it was important that whatever the outcome of any vote, the interests of the public must be taken into account.

“Each time I have lost I have decided that the best thing to do is simply accept the will of the public and get on with the job in hand.”

He added:

“I have been proud of the way the Conservatives, while not embracing the Assembly, have decided we have a duty to work with it and do the best for our constituents.”

This has involved highlighting problems over the health service and education, as well as working to improve transport links to Wales including a new M4 relief road and nationalising the Severn bridges.

Editor’s note: The Queen’s Speech debate on devolution and growth across Britain took place on Wednesday, 3rd June 2015. A full transcript of David’s speech is available here.

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